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Voter in trouble for anti-Mugabe rap on ballot paper

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha Saturday 05 July 2008

BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean voter who vented his anger at last week's
discredited presidential run-off election by spoiling his ballot paper with
insulting remarks against President Robert Mugabe was yesterday charged with
violating the Electoral Act.

The run-off election in which Mugabe was sole candidate after opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out because of political violence was
roundly denounced by the United Nations Security Council, African and
Western nations as undemocratic.

Lincoln Bongani Mathe, 22, a student at Bulawayo Polytechnic college was
arrested on June 27, the day of the vote, when instead of marking the ballot
paper against the name or symbol of the candidate of his choice he wrote on
the paper the words: "Mugabe, he is evil."

Mathe who appeared at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court yesterday allegedly
wrote that Mugabe who ignored African and international calls to postpone
the ballot was an "evil person" who would one day have to face the wrath of

Mugabe defied international and regional calls to postpone the run-off poll
after Tsvangirai withdrew from the race saying widespread political violence
against his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party supporters made a
free and fair vote impossible.

Urban voters shunned the polls, heeding calls by the MDC to boycott the
run-off election that recorded a high number of spoilt papers amid reports
that many of the ballots carried insulting remarks against Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said the number of spoilt papers
increased from 39 975 recorded in the March election to 131 481 in the
run-off poll with the Pan-African Parliament observer mission saying most
spoilt papers had unpalatable messages.

According to the state's case, Mathe while in the voting booth at a polling
station in Bulawayo's Cowdray Park high density suburb wrote on his ballot
paper: "Mugabe you have stolen the election, you are an evil person. You
will face the wrath of God."

Mathe, using his camera phone, allegedly photographed himself writing the
insulting comments against Mugabe. However, the clicking sound and flashing
light of the camera alerted polling officers who promptly reported Mathe to
the police.

He was charged with violating the Electoral Act that governs conduct and
activities within the vicinity of a polling station.

The Bulawayo student, who was remanded out of custody to 15 July, also faces
charges of contravening a government statute that prohibits Zimbabweans from
making statements and gestures that undermine or insult Mugabe.

Many Zimbabweans have in the past been arrested for passing insulting
comments against Mugabe, the only leader they have known since independence
from Britain 28 years ago.

Many Zimbabweans accuse Mugabe of plunging the once prosperous country into
a recession that the World Bank says is the worst in the world outside a war
zone and is seen in the world's highest inflation rate estimated at more
than 2 000 000 percent, severe shortages of food and every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe: How an angry prison officer with a secret camera shamed a tyrant

Duncan Campbell and Paul Lewis
The Guardian,
Saturday July 5, 2008

It was the murder of his uncle two months ago that convinced a young prison
officer called Shepherd Yuda that he should risk his own life to bring to
the world a first-hand visual account of life in Zimbabwe under Robert

What he did not realise at the time was that he would also provide
incontrovertible proof of exactly how Mugabe's men rigged the votes to
ensure his election.

As he shot his clandestine film, Yuda was aware that it might never be seen
in the outside world and that his reward could be nothing more lasting than
an unmarked grave in the Zimbabwean bush. By the time he and his family were
safely out of Zimbabwe yesterday, Yuda had a record of how the votes have
been stolen and how those who have dared to oppose Mugabe fear daily for
their lives.

The film shows how he and his colleagues at Harare Central prison had to
fill in their postal ballots in front of a Mugabe supporter, how voters had
to pretend to be illiterate so an official would fill in their ballots for
them, and how terrified Zimbabweans were using felt tip pens to colour their
fingers to pretend they had voted, lest they be murdered by Zanu-PF gangs.

On April 13 this year, two weeks after the first round of the elections,
Tapiwa Mobwandarika, was killed. He was a former prison officer but also an
outspoken opponent of Mugabe. In the mopping-up operations conducted by
Zanu-PF supporters, angry that Mugabe had lost the popular vote, he was
stabbed to death. Mobwandarika was one of more than perhaps a hundred - no
one knows the true figure - people murdered by Zanu-PF gangs or members of
the police and military.

Thousands more have been severely beaten, many too frightened to go to
hospital for treatment.

"I had never seen that kind of violence before," said Yuda. "The impact has
left a lot of orphans, it has left a lot of people displaced. You cannot
expect that from your government. You expect that from a rebel group. How
can a government that claimed to be democratically elected kill its people,
murder its people, torture its people?

"I've been optimistic that Zimbabwe would be a better country, even though
we were young after independence. But we have seen that Zimbabwe has been
reduced to the worst country in the world because of violence. Now we have a
government that is composed of people who don't hesitate to kill innocent

But what could a prison officer with a young family and living on wages of
around £4 a month do to honour his uncle's memory?

He decided that, with a secret camera, he could at least show the extent of
the misery and brutality within his country as reflected in the prison

Yuda did not realise then that he would be privy to the cynical manipulation
of the electoral process. His testimony, made for Guardian Films and
broadcast on and BBC Newsnight last night, shows how he and
his prison colleagues had to fill in their ballots in front of Zanu PF
supporters. "This was the most difficult moment of my life," he said of
marking his cross beside the name of Mugabe. "This is a terrible moment."

They had all been told that they had to use postal ballots which they then
had to fill in surrounded by prison officials who checked their electoral
register serial numbers. Superintendent Shambira, a war veteran and Mugabe
supporter, checked how he had voted.

"Then he folded it and put it in the small envelope. He handed it over to me
and said: seal it ... These people forced me to do [something] I have never
done in my life."

Yuda explained how the intimidation worked in government establishments. "In
the prison service, we've got Zanu-PF militias that are known as 'the green
bombers'. These are the people who are getting privilege to get jobs - they
get senior ranks to us. In this run-off election they were released to go to
the rural areas, they were released to go in towns. They are the people
causing violence, they are the people killing, they are the people

Unaware that they are being filmed, his colleagues talk frankly. One is
critical of Thabo Mbeki, the South African president: "The person who let us
down, he did not want to come down hard on Mugabe and report accordingly.
Instead, he went on about meaningless pan-Africanism. I don't know what
interests he is representing."

Another describes the state of the country: "We are starving. We can't even
feed our parents in the rural areas." He notes defiantly that they are
already suspected of having voted MDC. "I know some of our names are there
but I want to see who is going to get it on with me and I will say that's
right - so what?"

Others discuss what is happening in Zimbabwe prior to the run-off election.
"People are being killed, right now there is no work going on in the rural
areas. It's rally after rally," says one. Another remarks: "During the war,
there was no white person going and beating up people in their homes ...
People are dying, the international community knows it, even Condoleezza
Rice has said Mugabe has declared war on his people."

With his hidden camera, Yuda was also able to show Tendai Biti, the
secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who was in
jail on treason charges and is currently on bail awaiting trial. Biti, who
faces the death penalty if convicted, is shown in leg-irons. Jenni Williams
and Magodonga Mahlangu, leaders of Woza, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who have
been detained since May 28 after taking part in a peaceful protest, are
shown in Chikirubi security prison.

He explained how voters were told at a pro-Mugabe rally they must pretend to
be illiterate. "They said we don't mind if you are doctor, if you are a
teacher, if you are a prison officer or if you hold any degrees in
education. We don't mind. When the day of voting comes, you go and tell the
election agents that you can't read and write."

The film also shows a woman desperately colouring her finger purple because
she had failed to register. "All of those who have not voted will be taken
away and killed," she says.

Yuda's family, with whom he has now fled, also talk about the state of fear
stalking the country. "Youths came and forced everyone to go to the rally so
to protect yourself, you go," says his wife.

"They said 'we know there are some people who need to be beaten' and I was
so scared because I started thinking maybe they are talking of you because
last time they were saying they want to kill you in front of people."

He describes the effect on his children and how they feared for their
mother's life after she was forced to attend a Zanu-PF rally.

"When I opened the door [my daughters] were seated on the sofas. I asked:
where is your mother? They said: 'Dad! Dad! Dad!' [I said] what's wrong with
you girls? [The girls said:] 'Zanu PF youths were here and they knocked our
door, they said 'Anybody here? Anybody here'. Then mum said 'yes'. They said
'can you come out'? Mum said 'who are you'? They said 'if you don't come we
will get inside and deal with you, let's go to the rally'. My children were
so shocked and they were instilled with fear. Then I said 'so where is your
mum?'. [The girls] said they had taken her to the Zanu-PF rally."

One of his daughters recounts: "Youths were knocking door by door saying 'if
you don't come out for the rally we will force you out.' I was scared to
walk in the streets. I was very afraid. They gave us papers with Zanu-PF
information instructing you to attend a rally, they said 'if you don't
attend, we will come to your houses'."

Yuda describes how attempts were made to persuade people to vote. "During
the elections, even the unemployed could get things, they would sell some
sugar cheaply. Now [after the vote] they will sell sugar at the actual
value, like this milk by tomorrow, it will be sold for $5bn."

The level of intimidation is also demonstrated by a meeting inside the
prison which workers are forced to attend.

A senior prison official sings a campaign song and tells fellow officers:
"When I have sung, I want you to understand what is being said in this song
in relation with the current situation, do you understand?"

The song contains lines that are dismissive of the opposition: "They wait to
criticise, while they stir the soup/Forgiving each other has failed,/Living
peacefully has failed,/Understanding each other has failed,/Return the
spirit of the heroes into the battlefield, Return the spirit of the heroes
into the battlefield ... Return our strength to us, Jehovah, lord of war."

The speaker warns: "I want to remind you that these whites we are trying to
send away - they hate us. It's like, if you fall while walking in town,
whites will just look at you and ask what happened while they are walking
away. They won't help you up."

The footage shows both the extent of fear and the level of resistance in the
country. One man remarks: "Gentlemen, I have a spear in my house. Do not
underrate me." He is told: "Father, you will die holding that spear ... Your
spear can only stab one person. Those men will be armed. It is not just
youth we are seeing there, some are guards, police and soldiers."

Yesterday evening, Yuda had slipped out of the country with his family for a
new life. His family had been unaware of his plans or his undercover filming
until the last moment. He is leaving without regrets.

"I don't regret doing this although it is a painful decision I have taken. I
am very glad to move out of Zimbabwe to a better, secure country where I am
going to live peacefully with my family. We can live without the memories of
seeing dead bodies in the prison, dead bodies in the street, dead bodies in
my family.

"I've lost my uncle. My father was also beaten by Zanu-PF. I am praying to
God: please, God, deal with Zanu-PF ruthlessly."
See the video here -

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'I was being loyal to a government that was not loyal to its people'

Paul Lewis
The Guardian,
Saturday July 5, 2008

The clandestine operation to record the truth about Zimbabwe's prison
service began 10 months ago. Two weeks ago undercover film specialists were
sent to the region to smuggle three secret cameras into Harare. But the
Guardian's search for a prison official brave enough to reveal life behind
prison walls was not easy.

Shepherd Yuda had been proud to join the prison service 13 years ago to
serve his country. The 23-year-old officer had a good salary and a house in
prison grounds. A tall, highly trained weapons instructor, Yuda ranked third
in an annual rifle contest, and received an award from President Mugabe.

But after more than a decade in the service, he felt disillusioned. Today,
Yuda's monthly salary would buy just two cans of cooking oil. He struggled
to feed his young children and his wife, who is seven months pregnant. She
traded food on the border to supplement their income. Surviving on a meal a
day, they were forced to share their cramped home with another family.

"I've served this government for the past 13 years, and I was loyal to my
government," he said. "Unfortunately I didn't know that I was being loyal to
a government that was not loyal to its people."

Unlike colleagues, Yuda refused to pander to Zanu-PF officials. He became a
supporter of the opposition MDC in 2000, a gesture seen in the prison
service as an act of betrayal. He was beaten, imprisoned, suspended from
work and, after successfully contesting the suspension in court, demoted to
a low-ranking job on half-pay.

But Yuda was still working behind the prison gates - including Harare
Central prison, Zimbabwe's notorious maximum security jail - and witnessed
appalling living conditions on a daily basis. He saw many inmates die. "Some
of them were beaten by prison officers, some of them died of hunger, some of
them died of lack of medicine. I've seen it all."

Yuda filmed for six tense days in the run-up to last week's election. But he
had not anticipated that he would uncover sinister evidence of how Mugabe's
government rigged the votes of its own employees.

Yuda's clandestine filming was a solitary operation that he kept secret from
his wife and at night he recorded his thoughts in a video diary. He talked
in hushed tones about locals being forced to attend Zanu-PF rallies, his
fears for his wife and children, and the growing sense of terror as last
week's election approached.

"Mugabe has turned himself into a monster," he said. "You can't even sleep
in your house peacefully - if you hear the sound of a car coming, you think:
this is the end of me. This is the terror that Mugabe has unleashed on the
people of Zimbabwe."

Yuda agonised over his decision to leave Zimbabwe. But by his final diary
entry, he had banished any doubt that they should flee. "This country has
become a boiling pot where only stones can survive," he said.

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Robert Mugabe uses food as weapon as famine looms

The Times
July 5, 2008

Jan Raath in Bulawayo
Zimbabwe is on the brink of an unprecedented famine after its worst harvest
since independence in 1980. The plight of Zimbabweans is compounded by the
deliberate starvation of most of the population because of their support for
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

A crop assessment by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO) says that the country that once fed scores of famine-stricken African
nations will harvest only 575,000 tonnes of maize, the national staple, from
last summer's crop - only 28 per cent of the grain needed to feed the
country's estimated 11.8 million people.

Already 29 per cent of the population are "chronically malnourished,"
according to the Health Ministry and the UN. A similar percentage of
children suffer stunting.

In Bulawayo, cases of malnutrition in hospitals have increased 110 per cent
in two months.

Rural stocks of food will start running out in August, according to the FAO,
when more than two million will have to be fed or face starvation. By
January the number will have risen to 5.1 million. The Government gives
assurances that it has imported 500,000 tonnes of maize, but there is no
evidence of it. The FAO has forecast a shortfall of one million tonnes of
In spite of the dire situation, President Mugabe's regime is maintaining a
total ban on famine relief by local and international aid agencies. What
little food the Government has for distribution is handed to supporters of
the ruling Zanu (PF) party.

"It's a catastrophe," said an aid worker who asked not to be named. "It is
much worse than the drought of 1991-92 [when thousands of head of cattle and
wildlife died of starvation but people were fed from ample food reserves].
Now there is no preparedness."

After being subjected to three months of savage political violence before
the universally condemned presidential run-off elections last week, and
trapped by an economy in collapse, Zimbabweans are now about to be afflicted
by chronic hunger.

"There is no village [in the low-rainfall western provinces of Matabeleland
and Midlands] that is not touched by hunger and malnutrition," said Effie
Ncube, the director of a small local aid agency. "We go out on a weekly
basis to see what they cook and eat. Many of them are eating wild fruits,
nothing you could call a decent meal.

"Only Zanu (PF) people have a better life, because the Government gives them
food. The majority support the opposition and the majority are being starved
by the Government."

In a small office in central Bulawayo, the capital of western Zimbabwe, Mr
Ncube sits at a desk, filling in "history of violence" reports as he
interviews a constant stream of rural people needing medical attention after
being assaulted by militias of Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party.

In the week since the elections on June 27, most of the violence in rural
Matabeleland had subsided, although it continued in several pockets, he
said. Most of the rural youth dragooned into youth and "war veteran"
militias to carry out the violence to force people to vote have drifted

The illegal roadblocks to stop people - especially the injured - from
fleeing their homes after attack have been taken down. This has released a
surge of people with broken limbs and lacerated and bruised backs, buttocks
and legs to seek help for the first time, more than a week after they were

Gogo (grandmother) Christina Thabani, 68, was dragged out of her hut at
midnight in Umzinghwane district about 50 miles (80km) south of Bulawayo
last week, and thrashed until they broke her right arm. Then she was forced
to dance and sing songs idolising Mr Mugabe for several hours. Her broken
arm led to a cruel irony. When she got to the polling station she was unable
to use her hand to write, and officials insisted that she was assisted to

"Someone followed me into the polling booth. He put his X on Mugabe for me.
I don't want Mugabe," she said. She also told how earlier this year, she and
everyone in the village went to their head man to register for famine
relief. "They took our names, but then the headman and the war veterans in
the area vetted the list. Everyone who they thought was MDC had their names
crossed off."

A truck from the Grain Marketing Board, the state monopoly maize dealer,
comes perhaps once a month and hands out 50kg (110lb) bags of maize - but
only to Zanu (PF) supporters.

"You see them eating and you get angry, but there is nothing you can do,"
she said. "Sometimes they sell it to you, for a very high price, but only at
night, because they will get into trouble for feeding MDC people." One after
another, the victims in Mr Ncube's office told the same story, and also how
there was "absolutely no food" after the disastrous harvest.

"I have eight grandchildren and two children," Mrs Thabani said. "They are
starving." On June 5, the Government shut down all aid agencies and
charities. Mr Mugabe claimed that they were using their food distribution to
bribe people to vote for the MDC - exactly the tactic that Zanu (PF) is

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Blood By The Tracks In Rural Midlands, Zimbabwe, As Violence Continues


By Patience Rusere
04 July 2008

Deadly political violence is continuing in Zimbabwe despite efforts by
African Union leaders to encourage power-sharing between President Robert
Mugabe and his opposition: sources in Midlands province reported the
discovery of six bodies by the Gweru-Kwekwe rail line near the village of
Matshekandumba, situated about 30 kilometers from Midlands capital Gweru.
Attempts to reach police in Gweru were unsuccessful. But local sources said
one of the dead men was a state security agent who tried to stop colleagues
from killing local villagers.

Sources said state agents had been terrorizing villagers in the area for
days, beating them for failing to cast ballots in the June 27 presidential
run-off election two days after which President Robert Mugabe was declared
the winner and inaugurated.

Matshekandumba villagers were said have fled the area after the bodies were

Midlands Chairman Peter Muchengeti of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations, who has been helping local villagers, told
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that killings have
been on the rise since the run-off.

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Zimbabwe's Permanent Guantánamo

by Priti Patel

JOHANNESBURG - Last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that
detainees at Guantánamo Bay have the right to habeas corpus - the right to
challenge the factual and legal basis of their detention in a court of law.
I was elated by the decision, having spent four years working on ensuring
the rule of law in US detention and interrogation policy, including
monitoring military commission trials at Guantánamo Bay. But my happiness is
tempered by where I sit, close to the border with Zimbabwe - a country where
the writ of habeas corpus and the rule of law have become obsolete.

Habeas corpus, Latin for "you have the body," is an old English common law
principle incorporated into the US Constitution to ensure freedom from
unlawful detention by the state. It was and continues to be a critical check
against the imprisonment of individuals without oversight by independent
courts. In Zimbabwe, this right - like so many other checks and balances -
has been torn away by a repressive state.

Just hours before the US Supreme Court ruling, Tendai Biti, the
Secretary-General of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
was arrested upon his return to Zimbabwe. Despite immediate attempts by his
lawyers to locate him, his whereabouts remained unknown for days. The police
dismissed an initial court order demanding that Biti be produced before the

After Biti was finally produced before the court days later, the government
announced that he will be charged with treason - which carries the death
penalty - for unofficially announcing the results of the March 29, 2008,
elections.  Prior to his detention, Biti had responded to such allegations
by stating that his only crime was to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe. It is
unlikely that he will be able to challenge the basis of his detention in an
independent court.

Since 1999, the MDC has offered a democratic alternative to President Robert
Mugabe's regime. In the most recent elections, Zimbabweans made their choice
known, despite serious obstacles and widespread repression, with the MDC's
presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, gaining more votes than Mugabe.
But, according to the vote counts released by the government after a
suspicious month-long delay, the MDC's margin of victory - 48% to 43% - fell
short of the 50% required to avoid a run-off election.

Biti is not the only MDC member to be "disappeared" for a period of time by
Mugabe's government. Over the past two years, police and
government-supported paramilitaries have routinely jailed, beaten, and even
killed MDC officials and suspected MDC members. Last year, Biti was detained
and beaten along with Tsvangirai and dozens of other MDC officials. The
photos of Tsvangirai's pummeled body led to an international outcry.

State-sponsored violence against the MDC and its supporters has escalated as
the June 27 run-off vote draws near. Just weeks ago, Biti described the
discovery of the mutilated body of Tonderai Ndira, an MDC youth leader.
Ndira had been taken by the police from his home. He was missing for seven
days; when his body was found, it was recognizable only by a bracelet he
always wore.

Here in our offices in Johannesburg, we have two Zimbabwean lawyers who fled
their country after receiving death threats for their work defending human
rights. At least five of their clients have been murdered in the past few
weeks. Most recently, the Zimbabwean police suspended the work of numerous
human rights organizations that were documenting the recent violence.

It is hard to imagine that a free and fair election can take place against
the backdrop of such intense and systemic violence. Indeed, even South
African president Thabo Mbeki, who, despite an outcry from many of his
citizens, has supported Mugabe, felt compelled to label it a "cause for
serious concern."

In the majority opinion in Boumediene v. Bush , Justice Anthony Kennedy
wrote that "Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they
are reconciled within the framework of the law." But there is no rule of law
left in Zimbabwe - no habeas corpus and no check on arbitrary state action.
It is time for the international community to step in, call for an end to
the detention and disappearance of MDC officials and perceived supporters,
and push for a democratic transition in Zimbabwe. Only then can the
principles underlying the Supreme Court's decision come within reach of
ordinary Zimbabweans.

Priti Patel is a lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Center in

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Mugabe's Not Quite Done With Making Zimbabwe's People Suffer

Digital Journal

Posted 36 min ago by  Can Tran (TFactor)
Even after Robert Mugabe has been "reelected" as the president of Zimbabwe,
most of Zimbabwe's people still suffer with an unfathomable rate of famine.
While Robert Mugabe of the Zanu-PF Party has been "reelected" as President
of Zimbabwe, most of the people of Zimbabwe still suffer from hunger.
Perhaps this is Mugabe's way of punishing those that have given their
support to the opposition group known as the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) Party. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had dropped out of the contest
days before Zimbabwe had its runoff election on June 27.

Since the election at the end of March, Zimbabwe was plunged into a
humanitarian crisis. Mugabe's Zanu-PF mobs and militiamen went out and
systematically hunted and exterminated members and supporters of the MDC
into submission. The method worked and Mugabe stole the election. At the
African Union (AU) summit in Egypt, nobody except for Kenyan PM Raila Odinga
had lashed out at Mugabe.

While Mugabe is in power, most of the people of Zimbabwe still suffer. The
issue of famine still adds to the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
Regardless, Mugabe still maintains a ban on both local and international aid
agencies. The food that is in stock is only given to members and supporters
to the Zanu-PF Party. In a nutshell, the only people that benefit are the
Zanu-PF. Everybody else not associated or part of the Zanu-PF end up

It would seem that Mugabe is intent of making most of Zimbabwe's people
suffer for not supporting him. However, famine is not the only worry for the
people of Zimbabwe. The other issue would be the collapsed economy of the
country. I had recently written about the regard to Zimbabwe's economy.

While Mugabe is "reelected," it is he who has to deal with the
hyperinflation of Zimbabwe's economy. Several months ago, it was at 1,000
percent. Now, inflation is at 8.4 million percent. At an inflation rate of
1,000 percent, it made Zimbabwe's inflation right the highest in the world.
An inflation rate at 8.4 million percent could be deemed highly ludicrous.

As Zimbabwe's people continue to suffer from starvation, Mugabe is using
food as a tactic to get people to bow down to him. Yes, Mugabe is the
embodiment of a brutal dictator.

So far, Zimbabwe has turned out to be worse than Kenya. Perhaps the
situation in Zimbabwe has turned out to be just as worse if not anymore
worse than the situation in Burma.

In Burma, the junta said that the Burmese people could fend for themselves.

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe is using food to make people bow down to his will.

So far, the AU is silent on the matter. Ironically, the AU leaders have
turned their backs on Mugabe. South African President Thabo Mbeki, the key
mediator to the Zimbabwe crisis, is under hot water by the international
community for his response and approach. Mbeki could find himself stripped
of his position of key mediator.

The UN-security council is split on extending sanctions to supporters of
Mugabe. Nations such as China and Russia oppose such a move. However, China
could be a potential swing vote since it's hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.
A veto could be added onto a list of things that could spell a potential PR
nightmare for China in regards to the Olympics.

Britain's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is contemplating two plans for military
intervention. However, it is easier said than done. For this to work, they
would need cooperation from Zimbabwe's neighbors along with permission to
fly into their respective airspaces.

Overall, while Mugabe is still in office, it seems he is not done with
making the people of Zimbabwe suffer.

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Zimbabwe farm looting filmed


17:50 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 18:50 UK

Farmers in Zimbabwe have been the targets of looting following the recent
re-election of Robert Mugabe.

See the video at

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Experts Doubt Government of National Unity Viable In Zimbabwe


By Carole Gombakomba
04 July 2008

African leaders meeting in summit this week urged President Mugabe and
opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a government of national unity,
but analysts warn that more substantive action must be taken to bring the
political crisis to an end.

Both President Mugabe and Tsvangirai are setting conditions: Mr. Mugabe
insists Tsvangirai recognize him as president before any talks can begin,
while Tsvangirai is insisting that the results of the March 29 first-round
elections should be the basis for

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change is also talking up a
transitional authority which would give way to new elections after two years
as opposed to a a government of national unity which would continue through
Mr. Mugabe's five-year presidential term.

For a look at the chances any of these forms of crisis resolution will be
achieved, reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned
to Senior Peace Fellow Jamaal Jafari of the Public International Law and
Policy group in Washington, and Phillip Pasirai, a senior programs officer
at the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who opened the discussion by submitting
that a national unity government is unworkable in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe doesn't need UK firms, says Robert Mugabe

The Telegraph

By Louis Weston in Harare
Last Updated: 10:31PM BST 04/07/2008
Robert Mugabe has taunted Gordon Brown over the suggestion that British
companies will have to reconsider doing business in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at a rally after he arrived back in the country from an African
Union summit in Egypt, Mr Mugabe targeted the Prime Minister, who has
refused to recognise the octogenarian as Zimbabwe's legitimate leader after
last week's uncontested presidential poll.
"The British are threatening to withdraw their companies," Mr Mugabe said.
"We say: The sooner you do it the better.

"Please Mr Brown, withdraw all your companies from Zimbabwe."

Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for
Africa, said last weekend that the Zimbabwean regime and those who do
business with it face the prospect of new measures restricting their
dealings. "British and other companies, will find that actually the knot is
tightening and that a lot of activities they can do till now they won't be
able to do going forward," he said.
British supermarkets have begun to reconsider sourcing goods from Zimbabwe,
even when their business is with legitimate producers and they have no
direct dealings with the government.

Among British companies with interests in the country is Barclays, which has
faced criticism over its Zimbabwean banking subsidiary. The bank has said it
complies with all EU sanctions and seeks to operate in "an ethical and
responsible manner" .

In a bullish speech to his supporters, Mr Mugabe also demanded that the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change recognise him as president, or he
would not enter talks.

"We are open to dialogue but reality is reality and it has to be accepted -
I am the president of the republic of Zimbabwe," he said as he arrived back
in the country from an African Union summit in Egypt. "Everybody has to
accept that if they want dialogue."

At the summit African leaders failed to unite in condemnation of his
"re-election", in a one-candidate poll following a campaign of violence
against supporters of the MDC.

The octogenarian leader appeared bolstered by the result of the gathering,
even though at one point during the event he had to be restrained from
assaulting a reporter.

He said of Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC: "Let them not delude themselves into
ever believing we will reverse that, never ever. If they agree on that and
we are satisfied, then we shall go into dialogue and listen to them by way
of ideas.

"Those votes can never be thrown away as the British want. They are mad,

In an apparent reference to tough criticism from Botswana and Zambia, he
warned neighbouring states about picking a fight with Zimbabwe.

"If there are some who may want to fight us, they should think twice. We
don't intend to fight any neighbours. We are a peaceful country, but if
there is a neighbouring country that is itching for a fight, then let them
try it."

Reports on Wednesday said Botswana had moved heavy artillery near to its
border with Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe's comments come as the US circulated a United Nations Security
Council motion calling for sanctions to be imposed on the regime, and the EU
said it was considering unspecific "appropriate measures" against those
responsible for violence in the country.

However, Mr Mugabe is showing every sign that he intends to ignore all
international pressure.

The MDC rejected his demand, and earlier upped the toll of its supporters
killed since the first round of the election, when Mr Tsvangirai came first,
from 86 to 103.

Among those arrested on "trumped up charges" of inciting violence were 20
MPs or parliamentary candidates, it said, while 5,000 of its supporters were

"The regime cannot talk dialogue when it is acting war across the length and
breadth of the country," the party said in a statement.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman, said Mr Mugabe's demand to be recognised
as president was "an unrealistic precondition and we are not going to accept

But in a sign that fractures within the opposition may enable Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party to divide and rule, one newly sacked MDC official said it had
to recognise him as president.

Gabriel Chaibva, a former MP, was dismissed as a spokesman for the minority
MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara earlier this week for attending Mr
Mugabe's inauguration.

"If you are serious about talks and dialogue, immediately, unconditionally
and unreservedly recognise Mugabe as head of state, head of government and
commander in chief of the defence forces," he said.

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An organisation for networking

Email from a reader:
I have come across an organisation:

You can see their objectives at :

They are wanting to arrange conferences in various parts of the world to bring together Zimbabweans in different parts of the world who would like to play a constructive part in rebuilding, regardless of whether they plan on returning or not.  It is recognised that Zimbabweans have a wealth of experience and understanding that is needed to create economic and social plans for rebuilding. 

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Mbeki is a disgrace to Africa

The Zimbabwean

Friday, 04 July 2008 20:50
I can't agree more that Mbeki is more than a disgrace to both South
Africa and Africa as a whole. I will add my points to the debate for the
benefit of Mbeki sympathisers and those that question why we are 'obsessed'
and infuriated with Mbeki, writes MwanaWevhu, in The Times, Johannesburg.

The reason is simple, Mbeki is shielding Mugabe and you don't have to
be a rocket scientist to see the evidence. He has continuously blocked
discussions on Zimbabwe on continental and international forums (such as)
SADC, AU and the UN. He blocked UN resolutions that would have reigned in
Mugabe, he authorised shipment of arms to Mugabe that were used to kill over
80 people in the run-up to failed run-off elections, he swept under the
carpet numerous reports of election violence (including one by his own
generals), the list is endless. In short, Mbeki is to Zimbabwe what Charles
Taylor was to Sierra Leone (for those who don't know Taylor is a former
Liberian leader on trial in The Hague for supporting genocide in Sierra

To add to the above, here is a statement that Mbeki made this week in
Egypt at the AU summit and I quote verbatim: "The result that comes out of
that process of dialogue must be a result that is agreed by the
Zimbabweans," he told the South African Broadcasting Corporation. The
transcript of the interview is on Mbeki's own website
( or lest he denies it
like he always does or his sympathisers blame The Times or other news source
for framing him.

Here is the serious problem I have with such a statement from an
alleged 'mediator' and SA President. I will put it in South African context
so that it can be understood. What would South Africans have said if at the
height of apartheid in the 1980s when Nelson Mandela was still in prison and
Mbeki hiding somewhere in Zimbabwe and Mugabe (or any world leader then)
said the same thing that the crisis in South Africa can only be solved by
South Africans themselves and outsiders should not meddle in SA internal

Obviously people would have been rightfully outraged because Mandela
was at the mercy of Botha (like Tsvangirai is at the mercy of Mugabe) and he
had no negotiating power. People regard Mandela as great (even the US that
still has him included in terrorist list) but I think F.W De Klerk is the
greatest, if he had wanted to execute Mandela (like what Sani Abacha -
Nigeria did to Ken Soro Wiwa in 1994) no one would have stopped him and
nothing would have happened to De Klerk and apartheid would still be on up
to today.

And to address another question why people are more critical of Mbeki
than Mugabe, the answer is simple, as long as Mbeki is shielding and
harbouring him, Mugabe is untouchable and criticising him is a waste of time
and words. This is analogous to the US that shields Israel; everyone knows
that Israel is untouchable as long as the US is world superpower, that's why
Osama (bin Laden) went for the US.

I have quoted Mbeki's brother Moletsi who said, "the Mugabe regime
will not last past the term of current South African presidency" in addition
to saying "that the Mugabe regime exists because the South African
government permits it to exist."

This is a view held by many including Mandela who criticised what is
happening, they may be wrong and the pro-Mbeki and pro-Mugabe might be
right, I would be happy to be wrong but on Mandela's side, even if I get
listed as a terrorist by some and unpatriotic by others.

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Mugabe betrays African dreams

July 04, 2008 - 5:15 p.m.
If you've been following the sad news in Zimbabwe, you will hear the irony
in the name of its capital city, Harare. In the language of the Shona
people. It means "One who does not sleep."
When I slipped into Zimbabwe a few years ago as a board member of the New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, I slept restlessly out of fear
of being arrested. President Robert Mugabe had shut the door on visas to
outside journalists. Since then attacks have increased against the press and
anyone else who does not toe Mugabe's political party line.

And Zimbabweans sleep more fitfully. Some of the reasons are spelled out in
a list of the Zimbabwe's dead, compiled and distributed by Mugabe's
political opposition to international media and reported by Paul Salopek,
the Chicago Tribune's prize-winning Africa correspondent.

There's a man who was attacked and beaten after sitting down to eat dinner.

There's another killed while tending his garden.

There's a woman whose targeted husband was not home, so she was killed as a
warning to him.

There's another woman who was locked in a room at the shopping centre and
burned with plastic all over her body and in the mouth.

A man was given rat poison and, when that wasn't enough to kill him, he was
slaughtered with an axe.

More than 80 known victims were killed in the run-up to Mugabe's June 27
sham of a reelection. The carnage and intimidation have not stopped. The
country's economy is a wreck. It takes millions of Zimbabwean dollars to buy
a loaf of bread, and the prices go up every half hour or so. As many as 80
percent of the workers are unemployed. Peaceful sleep is a luxury.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, was poised to win the runoff,
despite Mugabe's best vote-stealing efforts, but withdrew to stop the brutal
state-sponsored attacks against thousands of his supporters.

At 84, Mugabe clings to power against all pretense of carrying about the
lives or liberty of his country's people. He cares only for power.

It wasn't always like this. I remember when Mugabe was viewed as one of
Africa's brightest postcolonial hopes.

Like South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Mugabe was imprisoned for opposing
white-minority rule. Freed in 1975 after 11 years in prison under the
breakaway British colony of Rhodesia, he led a resistance movement that
ended with his election in 1980 as prime minister of the newly named

But power corrupted him. In the early 1980s, his special forces, assisted by
the North Korean army, massacred an estimated 20,000 members of the Ndebele
tribe who supported a rival leader. In 2000 he defended the seizure of land
from white farmers by self-proclaimed "war veterans." The country
deteriorated rapidly from food exporter to food beggar.

Ian Smith, white Rhodesia's last prime minister, observed poignantly before
his death last October, "I was wrong about Mandela, but right about Mugabe."
Indeed, Mugabe's always been on his best behavior only as long as his own
power is not threatened. Subject him to something so humbling as an honest
election and, as far as he's concerned, everybody gets hurt.

He paints himself as Africa's champion. That's a mockery of the Pan-African
dream for which he once stood. Instead he's a retro-throwback to the old Big
Man system of kleptocracy and pseudo-democracy: "One person, one vote, one

So Nelson Mandela, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Sen. Barack Obama have
condemned his violence? So, the United Nations Security Council have joined
the condemnations? So, the Queen of England has revoked his knighthood? So,
you think Mugabe cares?

Mugabe cares only for power and, perhaps, keeping himself and his cronies
for having to answer for war crimes at The Hague. Instead, he's coddled by
bodies like the African Union.

At last week's AU meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheik, the
presidents of Kenya and Senegal were most prominent among the few who
sharply rebuked Mugabe for embarrassing the continent. Most of the African
Union urged a power-sharing deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. But, like
resolutions the UN and others have passed, it had no enforcement teeth.

Zimbabweans still wait in vain for what they really need to hear, a strong
rebuke of Mugabe's arrogance from their neighbor, South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki. As the region's designated negotiator in the Zimbabwe crisis -
and president of the region's biggest economic and political powerhouse -
Mbeki could almost single-handedly persuade Mugabe to retire to a
comfortable villa somewhere.

Through carrot-and-stick threats of international sanctions against the
landlocked Zimbabwe and Mugabe's cronies, Mbeki could save his legacy and
Africa's future. Instead, Mbeki behaves, in the words of an old African
fable, like a mouse in the pocket of Mugabe's elephant while the grass
suffers - and does not sleep.

Write to Clarence Page c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite
114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Or e-mail him at

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Mugabe and pathology of power

By Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News
Published: July 04, 2008, 23:41

What drives an 84-year-old political leader, who had ruled his country for
close to three decades, to cling on to power at any cost, including that of
hunting down, incarcerating and butchering his opponents, whom he perceives
as a threat to his ambitions for yet another term in office?

You may think that power corrupts, and that its absolute version corrupts
absolutely, but Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has projected a more pathological
expression of power, best defined by Edmund Burke, who wrote: "Those who
have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of
emolument from it, even though for but one year, can never willingly abandon

Leaders of the African Union meeting at a two-day conference in Egypt last
Tuesday failed, effectively, to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis, issuing
a lame resolution calling on Mugabe and the political opposition, led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, to "engage in serious efforts" to form a national unity
government. An attempt by some delegates to punish Zimbabwe by excluding it
from regional and continental meetings, and introduce a strong motion
censuring the regime, was defeated. There remain, it would appear, African
governments that are sympathetic to Mugabe's claim that Britain's and other
Western nations' "interference" in Zimbabwe was behind the country's crisis.
No mention was made of the fact that Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
change won the first election in March but withdrew from the run-off after a
state-sponsored campaign of violence against the party's supporters.

Leadership failures

It is unfortunate that African countries, working in concert, failed to
address a pressing African issue on their continent. The meltdown in
Zimbabwe is not, sadly, unique to Zimbabwe, for there are leadership
failures across Africa, though Zimbabwe's failure, resulting from its
president's brazen effort to prolong his rule no matter what, is more
extreme in kind and in degree. Surely, African leaders must recognise that a
deepening social, political and economic crisis in one country in their
continent will systemically affect them all. Just as, for example, the
drought that swept across Western Somalia, and across the border in
Ethiopia, last year and again this year, has already created a major problem
for the surrounding countries, so has political turmoil in Zimbabwe created
a demographic problem for South Africa with the influx there of great
numbers of Zimbabwean refugees fleeing a land that at one time had been
self-sufficient and stable but, thanks to mismanagement, nepotism and
corruption in government, is now turned into a empty basket case. Those of
us who were around at the time, in the 1950s, recall the independence era
when the colonial powers began to withdraw and dozens of new African states
were established amid the world's applause and giddy enthusiasm.

A bold experiment by formerly colonised peoples, in nation- building,
economic development and social justice, was to be launched. Fifty years on,
Africa's misfortunes - its ethnic wars, its droughts, its famines, its
genocides - have become legion. To be sure, there are exceptions. Take
Botswana, an enduring example of a multi-party democracy, and South Africa,
which has emerged intact into a post-apartheid era. But the reality is that,
two generations later and half a century after independence, a continent
rich in resources has been brought to the edge of despair, its many states
burdened by debt, national strife and dictatorial rule.

Back to Mugabe who, I will go out on a limb and tell you here, is beyond the
pale. We all read the gruesome news story last week, among many about the
man's brutalities against his own people, of the burning to death of a
six-year-old boy because his father is an opposition politician. In the face
of such thuggery, I too, had I been Tsvangirai, would have been persuaded to
withdraw from the presidential run-off on June 27.

That the African Union summit in Sharm Al Shaikh failed to address the issue
is indeed, I say, unfortunate. But all is not lost. The United States, with
backing from the European Union, is preparing to apply pressure on
Zimbabwe's president by pressing for a UN vote next week that would impose
sanctions on his regime.

In and by itself that may not be enough. That is why the international
community is looking into ways to intervene on behalf of the long-suffering
people of Zimbabwe. It would appear that under a new concept, known as
"responsibility to protect" and dubbed "R2P", adopted by world leaders at a
UN world summit in New York in 2005, intervention in another country is
permitted in the event that mass atrocity, and other crimes against
humanity, are taking place there, and that country is unable to protect its
people. Whether the international community would resort to such a measure
remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe as a nation has become hollowed out, its potential for
development disrupted by the predatory politics of an 84-year-old ruler who
has worked together with a ruling elite to create or perpetuate privilege
for cronies at the expense of the national interest and the interest of the
mass of Zimbabweans. Yes, I say in this case, we do have a "responsibility
to protect" - or at the least to speak up.

Fawaz Turki is a veteran journalist, lecturer and author of several books,
including The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile. He lives in
Washington D.C.

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Zimbabwe and the liberal mind

Washington Times

William Murchison
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Imperialists bad; freedom fighters, good. Out of there, you smug, gold-laced
Churchillian types with your pith helmets and your gin and tonics. Out of
India! Out of Africa! Out! Out!

Nor did American liberals alone make up the chorus. Plenty of Brits
declaimed against their overseas fiefdoms. Worn-down Frenchmen and Dutchmen
called for withdrawal from the plains and jungles of empire. Empire, as we
would say nowadays, was so over. The glorious dawn of independence was at
hand, bathing in its lustrous rays ... well, for Robert Mugabe, among

Robert Mugabe: exalted oppressor of the Zimbabwean people, jailer of
opponents, suppressor of every human right known to man and then some.
Robert Mugabe, all-round tyrant, despot and jerk, as well as unwitting
generator of a certain nostalgia for the bad old days of topees and gin and

Maybe, after all, we think, watching Zimbabwe's plunge into the Dark Ages,
amid economic ruin and the shutdown of civil liberties, black isn't
automatically the color of virtue, nor white the color of viciousness. Maybe
the old empires, which certainly had their demerits, had, as well, some good
points. For one thing, they would allow you a fair trial.

Western liberal antipathy for empire and, at one time, the white-ruled
relics of empire - e.g., South Africa and Rhodesia - never had much
discernment about it. The supposition was that when the colonial masters got
kicked out, or left of their own accord, native successors to power would
initiate the reign of freedom and justice and love. It has been, here and
there, a little messier than that, a little rockier.

Zimbabwe isn't the only example, but it's a good one. After Britain, the
former colonial authority in Rhodesia helped peel power away from Ian
Smith's rebel white regime, and Robert Mugabe governed for a time with some
success. Then he decided to become president for life. Autocracy descended,
as did hunger and imprisonment. He seized the productive farmlands of the
country's then-numerous whites. Racial mythology protected him. He was black
and, as the New York Times called him this week, "a revered liberation
hero." The whites were, well, white.

Not that whites were Mr. Mugabe's most conspicuous victims; blacks were,
too - blacks like himself. Whites had the money and motive to flee; not so
the blacks he had killed or thrown in prison, or whom he shut out of power
for demanding what had been represented to them as their lawful human

White liberals abroad kept largely quiet. It was so embarrassing: A black
oppressing blacks! - and, with the implied acquiescence of other black
African leaders happy to cut some slack for a revered liberation hero. Until
now, that is. Now, when widely acknowledged as the author of all Zimbabwe's
problems - including an inflation rate of percent - and the brazen theft of
the most recent presidential election - Mr. Mugabe seems to be wearing out
his international welcome.

Kenyan President Raila Odinga calls recent developments in Zimbabwe "a shame
and an embarrassment to Africa in the eyes of the international community."
He calls on the African Union "to send troops to Zimbabwe" and restore order
and justice.

A good idea, one would think. There's one more good idea. It's to cut the
racial component out of political discourse. If we're all for freedom and
justice - we are, aren't we? - it hardly makes sense to judge in racial
terms alone, the bona fides of this or that government, this or that ruler.
We're past that, aren't we? Or where would Barack Obama stand in the
electoral pecking order?

Of course, old habits die hard. A Western liberal prone to excusing revered
liberation heroes on the slightest grounds doesn't automatically abandon the
habit - the habit that goes with sliming and slandering white
"imperialists." Not rational. Not useful in the full securing of human
rights. But so Western liberal, don't you know?

William Murchison is a senior fellow of the Texas Public Policy Foundation
and a nationally syndicated columnist.

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Zimbabwe pull out of next summer's Twenty20 World Cup and it's all down to Mandela

Daily Mail

By Chris Foy Last updated at 8:49 PM on 04th July 2008

Nelson Mandela was last night identified as the inspiration for a courageous
stand by South Africa which helped to free England's players from the
spectre of the Zimbabwe issue.

When Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, confirmed that his
country had withdrawn from next summer's Twenty20 World Championship in
England, it averted the threat of a devastating split in the international

In the past: England one-day skipper Paul Collingwood plays a shot as
Zimbabwe keeper Brendan Taylor looks on during the 2007 Twenty20 World
Championship in South Africa

With the British government adamant that players from the African nation
would not be granted visas, Chingoka was forced to abandon his defiant
position under pressure from Zimbabwe's Indian 'friends'.

The fact that the Indian delegation were convinced to adopt the role of
mediators was down to the ECB holding their nerve when talks were on a knife
edge. But they in turn owed much to the strident support of Norman Arendse.

The Cricket South Africa president was hailed as 'outstanding' by his
English counterparts, who recognised the need for an African voice to chip
away at Zimbabwe's stubborn position.

But the African voice which seemingly galvanised Arendse and others was
Mandela's. Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, claimed that when the former
president of South Africa spoke out against Robert Mugabe's regime last
week, it struck a chord.

'Nelson Mandela has enormous international standing,' he said. 'His
statement was quoted during the board meeting by the chairman of Cricket
South Africa and had a substantial impact on opinions.

'Nelson Mandela has a huge significance throughout Africa and also
throughout the sub-continent. He is, as Norman Arendse said, a "modern-day
saint". His pronouncements carry weight. When he made his comment in London,
I was sure it would have an impact.'

Informal talks on the Zimbabwe question went on throughout Thursday night.
Once India had been coaxed into accepting that sport and politics are
sometimes, as in this case, 'inextricably linked', Chingoka was finally
convinced to pull out of the Twenty20 showpiece.

In return, Zimbabwe Cricket will retain their ICC full-member status and
funding and receive a participation payment for an event they are no longer
taking part in.

England and South Africa both hoped to see Zimbabwe banished from the world
game, but that was not an option within the constraints of the ICC

However, the country's status will be urgently reviewed in terms of
cricketing strength, administration and infrastructure.

Future suspension remains a possibility. Arendse called yesterday's
development a 'step forward', but added: 'The Zimbabwe issue remains on the

The Government were quick to congratulate the ECB, but there was evident
disappointment that Zimbabwe had not been banished. Andy Burnham, the
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: 'I would have
preferred the ICC to take a stronger stance.'

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Raising money for Zimbabwe Pensioners

Hi Folks

I wanted to know if you could assist in publicising a fund raising venture that my brother, Graeme Schlachter, is undertaking later this year.

 Graeme has taken up the challenge to swim the English Channel later this summer in an effort to raise money for elderly people in Zimbabwe.

Why the channel?  Well, I take part of the responsibility for that. It was an idea I came up with late on a Friday afternoon in October 2006.  The recent arrival of my first son Nikolas, in May this year, has put paid to my attempt (phew!) but Graeme has taken up the challenge and his swim is scheduled for late September.

And quite a challenge it is.  It’s known as the “Everest” of swimming and in some respects, it’s tougher.  More people have summited Mount Everest then have swum the channel. At 35km, it can take up to 18 hours to complete, with strong tides, bad weather, ships and the cold the most obvious obstacles to contend with. Those less obvious, include finding the time and mental strength to shoe-horn in 20-30km of training a week, most of it in cold water.

I am immensely proud of the way Graeme has risen to these challenges, motivated by the chance of  personal achievement and the opportunity to help others as well.  The Charities Graeme is raising money for are Homes in Zimbabwe (Charity no. 1104512) and ZANE. (Charity no.1112949)

These charities focus on helping the elderly in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a crazy place at the moment and no part of society is spared the impact of the current situation.  However, for those who retired prior to the onset of the hyperinflationary spiral, they are in some serious trouble and that’s where these charities help out.

Our parents still live and continue to work in Zimbabwe, just about keeping pace financially, although their pensions have been destroyed and retirement plans deferred indefinitely.  They consider themselves the lucky ones.

If you can assist in raising the profile of Graeme’s challenge and fund raising activities, check out his blog at or contact us on the details below.

All sponsorship will be gladly accepted at .

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